So, we have yet to pick up any of the local papers here in Brisbane. We hear they are horrible, and I feel guilty, but I begin to wonder if they could be as bad as the morning news/entertainment shows.
Today’s headlines and endless teases on the morning show, Sunrise, included:
Obama’s inauguration – yay! But how strange! Even last night the local TV news gave endless coverage to the event, posting all three of their on-air US-based reporters on the “news story.” As much as I am pleased that they are interested in my president, I find strange all the resources given over to the inauguration. I assume they did not do the same for the president of France.
One host was excited that Michelle Obama waved at her as the Obamas walked down the street (I nearly wrote “Royal Family” there, sorry — my brain jumped ahead to the next story). But hey, the Australian TV reporters and newscasters were excited about the comments that Obama gave in his speech, focusing on climate change, “female equality” (which I heard as wage parity for women, but they talk differently down here), gay marriage and a few other issues, and gave them shoutouts on the air, as well as getting local political professors to comment.
Prince Harry leaves Afghanistan – granted, England’s Royal Family has long held sway over the populace here as People of Interest. (Heck, they do in the US too, but perhaps not as much — I could be wrong.) People here Down Under thought of themselves as Brits up until the 1970s, when Australian citizenship was first inaugurated (if you believe Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country). I’ve seen some evidence of this in a secondhand store laden with Winston Churchill drinking mugs, English pewter and other gewgaws, and in the WWII memorials that seem to pop up in far corners and main gathering places.
But I digress from my original point: Harry talked about killing Taliban fighters while on duty, which triggered a wave of observations from a talking head in the UK (yesterday evening their time) on how that will make Prince Harry a target of extremists and how it was stupid of him to say. And then comments followed from the Aussie hosts here: didn’t the military do the interview themselves – wouldn’t they have controlled what he said? Either way, the prince got more attention than any of the other young men out there in the field, I suspect, so isn’t he a target of some kind anyway, whether of extremists or the press?
Ellen de Generes – I am excited to tell you that she is finally here (<–that’s sarcasm, sorry), and that the morning talkshow host seems to be much beloved Down Under. A week or so ago, she announced that she would be taking her entire studio audience with her on a trip to Australia, courtesy of Quantas – and the news outlets here went wild.
Last time this happened, Oprah did the same generous giveaway and became an instant hero here, as I understand it. The media ploy was a massive public relations coup for the country’s tourist sector, and Oprah’s attention encouraged Americans to travel here, despite the strong Australian dollar and the $2,000 price-tag for a plane ticket. The first announcement of Ellen’s largesse (the whole studio got plane tickets!) led us to wonder how many housewives watching her daytime show have that kind of money, or if this encouraged debt/credit card spending in the US.
This morning, eager Aussies got up super early in the morning to see Ellen, hoping to be the two folks whom she would give plane tickets to back to the US, as rumor had it. The story I have linked to here took three reporters to write, THREE, and *spoiler alert* they profiled the two women who were selected from the audience: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/get-set-for-one-ellen-of-a-trip/story-e6frfmyi-1226558120667. I might be slightly mortified at the moment — look at how long the story is! Is this really that important?
The newsroom teases for these stories (who would Ellen pick??? Would it be the young man who said “Ellen always makes the summer holidays worthwhile”?) got to be too much, in amongst the multitude of advertisements that make up the bulk of the hour. After the weather guy, we switched it off and went to work – but as always, the crazy weather guy delivered: Today, he gave us the countrywide forecast, from a catwalk suspended between pens of beef cattle at an animal auction. At some point he said something like, ‘no one touches the animals, as that could harm the quality of the meat for the supermarkets buying today.’ I guess no one has told him about the luxuriantly massaged, marbled fatty Kobe beef.
So, the forecast for the day: ~32 deg C, and showers. It certainly poured earlier today, and now this evening the sky is clear. Maybe the rainy season has finally started here in Brisbane. And that’s newsworthy.